"Not necessarily stoned but beautiful." I'm in Seattle, so it was time to go to Paul's
Hendrix museum, that didn't turn out to be a Hendrix museum.
He had to add Pearl Jam, Hip Hop, and The Ventures. It's
the Experience Music Project. It's a pile of big brightly
colored shapeless buildings. It's right under the Space
Needle, so it's easy to find. At least it's easy to find if
you're not an idiot like me.
I walked out in the rain (of course) and got on the monorail
that took me right through the EMP, like a Disney thing or
something. Now, it takes a very special man to take a
monorail THROUGH a building and then when the monorail
stops, to continue in the same direction the monorail was
traveling to get through the building he just went through.
But, that's what I did. So, I was in a mall and couldn't
find the EMP. I asked some stoner Green Day fans how to get
there and they thought I was higher than they were. They
told me and I still walked the wrong way. The Jimi
Experience for me was being lost, which on some level must
be dead on. I walked the wrong way again, and then finally
went through an amusement park that was closed and rainy (of
I got in and dropped my $20. I could only be there an hour,
but I figured, what the hell. It's funny; Jimi was the
dirty, dangerous, irresponsible side of electricity. The
kind of electricity that Bob saw howling in the bones of her
face. The kind of electricity, where you learn to love the
chaos and noise in the system. This is also about
electricity, but it's the electricity of cleanliness. It's
Microsoft electricity. It's the electricity of money, not
the electricity of phony hippy gypsies. The whole museum is
a tribute to an artist not being responsible for her fans.
Jimi wouldn't have grooved with Paul Allen. I don't think.
At least not the way I picture them. Jimi might have seen
Paul as a "white collar conservative flashing down the
street." I don't know. But, it doesn't matter. Paul loved
the music. He really loved the music. He loved the music
enough to put a broken burned guitar with
muddled-drug-headed poetry all but indecipherably scrawled
on back in a glass, humidity-controlled case and put a
guitar pick icon above it and enough clean white-boy
electronics to choke a horsepower in it to let you hear Taj
Mahal talk about it.
When you go in, they yoke you with this big shoulder bag
full of micro processing that lets you point and click your
way though a museum like it was a CD-ROM. It's nice. Dirty
record covers, leather jackets, and napkin scrawls in cases
with numbers. And Dave Marsh over-writing like a freak,
about The Ventures. I learned that The Ventures were from
Seattle. I learned that Seattle owns Louie Louie. The
Kingsmen and Paul Revere and the Raiders. The FBI files
about Louie Louie are opened and laid out for all to
ridicule, in hopes that soon the government's equally
paranoid, and stupid attack of Microsoft will also some day
be in a case to be shrugged off as ancient insanity by fools
who didn't get it.
I went through pretty fast. Maybe it was good that I only
had an hour. If I had had more time, I might have decided
to "do it right," and I would have looked and listened to
everything and I would have been there much too long. The
headphones are nice, the sound quality is nice and it's laid
out very smart and clean. All the Hendrix dangerous chaos
is in little glass boxes. I don't say that because it's
wrong. I say that because it's right. Hendrix fans
shouldn't be like Hendrix any more that Mozart fans should
be making fart jokes. The music holds up. Genius didn't
pick the silly headband; genius listened to the sound of the
amp. Genius didn't decide to do too many drugs and die as a
very young man.
I liked standing and staring at Noel's bass. Here's a guy
who played simple and steady behind Hendrix. I thought
about that role. Teller and I work together, we get a
chance now and then to support and set up. I like helping
out in MoFo, I like my showgirl role in that, but it's not
what Noel did. Noel was on stage with a genius (not that
MoFo's voice isn't owned by a genius), I picture him just
keeping the changes in his head, while he watched this pure
talent, in a body of drugs and cheap showbiz. It's amazing
how cheesy Jimi could be and how the talent, the skill, the
power, made it seem cool and still hold up. I mean, he was
dressed like Huggy Bear for christ's sake, and it still
looks heavy and important. Man, he could play guitar.
I hurried through the rest of the museum. I didn't even get
a chance to spend time on Dylan. I stared at one of the
first rockabilly band's upright bass for a while. This
doghouse was bitchslapped silly. It had tape and rivets on
it. It was a tool for banging. I liked that. I thought
about Hendrix. I like that he put his time in a Jimi James.
I like that it was long enough ago that he played the
Chitterling circuit and modern enough that he could become a
guitar god beyond race. I've always loved how Hendrix
really doesn't have a racial feel. He's not black or white,
he's just music. I love that the feedback holds up. I
don't think he was a great lyricist, but I love looking at
his notebooks, and I love that they have scanned an entire
notebook so you can study it electronically. I have a lot
more time to spend with Hendrix's work in my life.
I went upstairs to this "Sound Lab" thing where you can play
instruments. I went through a simple bass lesson where the
frets lit up so I could play "Wild Thing." It was also set
up to jam. Some of the employees wanted to jam with me.
But, I get hung up on my bass playing and I also wasn't
feeling that social. I was thinking of how Hendrix spoke to
Paul Allen. Man, think about that, and you're thinking
about all art.
I went down to the stupid giftshop and "Turntable"
restaurant. I didn't look much at the exhibit about the
architect. I didn't really get it, and how much he got for
a cardboard chair wasn't going to help me understand. Maybe
Colin can make me understand.
I like that they have a library that's open to the public of
a LOT of music. It's right from the records with all the
pops and clicks. The librarian tried to tell me that they
were the same pops and clicks that Jimi heard. I tried to
argue with her, "pops and clicks LIKE the ones Hendrix
heard," but it wasn't worth it.
I waited in the rain with some med student guy and we shared
a cab. I liked it. It made me really love Paul Allen. I
like that he just made Hendrix belong to him. He didn't
wait to be told he was the audience, he just knew he was the
audience and that's the important part of this whole
building for me.
"Not necessarily stoned, but beautiful."